The Japanese Super Formula championship was decided after a pair of dramatic races at a wet Suzuka.
Last weekend also saw four-times Australian V8 Supercars champion Jamie Whincup lose his grip on the title, another twist in the NASCAR title fight, and an eventful second Formula E race in Malaysia.
Races seven and eight: Suzuka Circuit, Japan
TOM’s team mates and ex-F1 drivers Andre Lotterer and Kazuki Nakajima arrived in Suzuka both looking to claim another Japanese Super Formula championship title. However both were defeated by Hiroaki Ishiura – the only driver to score in every race this year.
Lotterer’s weekend was his season in microcosm: he won race one comfortably, but retired early in the second. Ishiura withstood an attack from Kamui Kobayashi to take second in the first race, with Nakajima off the podium in fourth after a crash-strewn race.
Honda’s 14-month wait for a win was ended by Naoki Yamamoto in race two while Ishiura and Nakajima’s position were reversed from the first race. Ishiura therefore sealed the title, and next year he may find himself defending it from McLaren junior Stoffel Vandoorne, who is reportedly lining up a move to the fastest open wheel series outside of Formula One.
Round 12: Pukekohe Park Raceway, New Zealand
Jamie Whincup won two of the three races at Pukekohe, including the final which paid twice as many points. But despite adding second place in the other race the man who has taken six of the last seven titles was mathematically eliminated with two rounds to go.
The other race was won by championship leader Mark Winterbottom’s closest rival – Dave Reynolds – but only after Triple Eight’s Craig Lowndes suffered a dramatic tyre failure at 140mph down the pit straight, sending him spinning backwards into the wall. Fortunately he escaped injury.
Next race: Phillip Island, Victoria (21st – 22nd November)
Round 2: Putrajaya, Malaysia
Sebastien Buemi eased to his second pole position in two races and looked to be heading towards a repeat of his comfortable Beijing victory, only for his car to stop just a few laps before the pit stop phase. By the time Buemi managed to restart most of the field had passed him, and EDams’ were also worrying about their other car.
Nicolas Prost led after the pit stop phase but overheating batteries left him urgently needing to save power. Lucas di Grassi therefore took the lead from Antonio Felix da Costa.
The final eight laps were pure drama: Da Costa dropped back with a power problem and Loic Duval, Robin Frijns and Jerome D’Ambrosio all made contact with the wall. Prost narrowly avoided a similar fate, while up front di Grassi finally secured a follow-up to his victory in last year’s inaugural race. Sam Bird rose from 14th to take second, and Frijns dragged his battered car across the line for the final podium place.
Next race: Punta del Este, Uruguay (19th December)
Round 34: Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth
A spate of tyre failures caused problems for several drivers on NASCAR’s return visit to Texas Motor Speedway. Jimmie Johnson passed Bred Keselowski to take his first win since May, while championship contenders Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano were among those to suffer punctures. The latter, despite having won three times in the last four weeks, now must win the next race at Phoenix to stay in the championship hunt at the season finale under NASCAR’s Chase for the Cup rules.
Next race: Phoenix International Raceway, Avondale (15th November)
Also last weekend
Jorge Lorenzo clinched the Moto GP championship in Valencia as Valentino Rossi climbed from last place to fourth, falling five points short of the title.
Over to you
What are your thoughts on this years Super Formula and Moto GP champions? And what did you think of the chaos we saw in Formula E? Let us know in the comments below.
Next weekend Formula One heads to Brazil for it’s penultimate round of the season, while the World Rally Championship ends in Wales. NASCAR also continues as the eliminator round comes to an end at Phoenix International Raceway.
NB. Moto GP owners Dorna are now blocking their YouTube videos from being embedded.
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